Liberals: Trump’s Just Taking Over Where Obama
As an unprecedented wave of outrage swells
against the Trump administration, Mnar Muhawesh,
host of ‘Behind the Headline,’ wonders why
people weren’t more outraged with Obama’s
policies on mass surveillance, whistleblowers,
our former commander in chief — Barack
Obama?Well he’s on vacation. After eight years
in the Oval Office, he’s decided to unwind with
billionaire Richard Branson. His recent
kitesurfing adventure seems to be the only news
item competing with President Trump’s “Muslim
ban” and the opposition to it and the
contentious confirmation of Betsy DeVos as
is turning to Obama’s post-presidency antics as
we move further into the Trump administration.
weekend that Trump took the oath of office, this
country saw the largest political mobilization
in U.S. history. And with each passing day of
his presidency many Americans are growing
increasingly outraged by the actions of the real
estate mogul-turned reality TV-star-turned
commander in chief.
the Democratic Party and the establishment left
mourn Obama’s exit from the White House, they’re
warning that we’ve entered a period of fascism
in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of
Americans have taken to the streets in protest.
They’re also mobilizing online and over the
phone in a swell of engagement and outrage that
seems unprecedented in recent memory.
And to a
certain point their outrage is justified: Our
president is a man who campaigned on a platform
racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia
into the mainstream, railing against political
correctness and bringing into stark contrast the
deep divisions among us.
waging war on the media and issuing orders that
put a blanket ban on people from seven
Muslim-majority countries — nations that have
been a target of U.S. imperialism and
destabilization for more than 30 years. These
orders are illegal, unconstitutional, and,
frankly, morally reprehensible.
even breach international law if the U.S.
Embassy in Israel is moved from Tel Aviv to
occupied East Jerusalem, as he recently gave the
green light for Israel to do so.
put Iran “on notice” — whatever that means — for
an attack on the U.S. Navy which the Islamic
Republic never committed. This has driven the
United States into the closest military
confrontation with Iran since 1979.
of people gathered around the world in Women’s
March protests the day after the inauguration.
But as these protests swelled, one perhaps
couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t any
mobilization even remotely on this scale in the
previous eight years during Obama’s presidency.
it’s not too late to remind those who blindly
followed the former “commander in cool,” who
stamped each of his authoritarian policies with
the platitudes of “Hope” and “Change,” of just
how Trump’s new policies wouldn’t be possible
without the full dictator’s toolkit that Obama
and the Democratic Party prepared for him.
Obama who dropped more than 26,000 bombs on
foreign soil — and that was just in 2016. It was
Obama who destabilized and destroyed the very
countries these victims of war are fleeing. And
it was Obama who simultaneously approved arms
sales to terror groups and dictatorships while
expanding the war on terror.
It was Obama who
expanded Bush’s drone war
— a practically invisible war in which thousands
of people have been killed without trial. Worse
yet, many of those killed in drone strikes in
countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and
Afghanistan, have been civilians whose only
“crime” was being in the wrong place at the
Obama who gave Israel a record rate of $6
billion in military aid, more than any other
administration in US history, emboldening the
It was Obama who waged an unprecedented war on
whistleblowers. During Obama’s presidency there
were eight prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage
Act — that’s more than
double those under all previous administrations
It was Obama who
continued to expand executive powers
— including the ability to declare war
unilaterally, meaning a president wouldn’t need
congressional approval– that had already been
dramatically expanded under the George W. Bush
It was Obama who
expanded Bush’s surveillance state right up
until the very end.
Obama’s use of a secret court system, known as
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,
allowed his administration to ignore a federal
court ruling that found bulk surveillance
illegal. This ended up granting the National
Security Agency the power to collect the phone
records of millions of Americans.
all the outrage over Trump’s so-called “Muslim
ban” and other policies, it seems logical that
there would have been a similar blow back when
Obama created the conditions for the death and
destruction which refugees now hope to flee. Yet
the same people calling executive overreach
under Bush suddenly got quiet when Obama the
Democrat came into office. But now that a
Republican or Trump is behind the wheel of this
enormous vehicle of practically unlimited power,
those once quiet voices are rising up again.
Rather than reflecting on these and other
horrendous acts perpetrated by the Obama
administration, however, much of the Democratic
and liberal bases are looking back on the Obama
administration as “the
good old days.”
They and many others are demonstrating, en
masse, against the powers that Donald Trump now
has access to, ignoring the fact that not only
did Obama himself use those powers, in many
ways, his administration created and expanded
them for the next successor.
of the independent press during times of great
political upheaval is to wade through the chaos
in order to provide the public with hard-hitting
truths that transcend party lines.
the truth is, it doesn’t’ matter if a Republican
or Democrat is in office — the policies from
both parties look the same.
can’t begin to fight against the looming attacks
against our civil liberties and the human rights
of people everywhere — not just in the United
States — without first acknowledging the crimes
of previous administrations –Republican or
Democrat — and the powers that they expanded for
going to be any genuine resistance to the Trump
administration, then we have to be prepared for
what tools he now has available, thanks largely
to the former Democratic and Republican
administrations before him, especially Obama.
swathes of America ready to protest, it’s time
for the real anti-war movement to seize on that
momentum and push for real change that actually
creates conditions for a more peaceful world.
It’s time to empty out the dictator’s toolbox
and dismantle the system that’s brought us to
this point. To “Hope” and “Change,” we say: Your
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